August 9, 2013– Mayor Michael A. Nutter with Philadelphia School District Superintendent Dr. William Hite announced the WalkSafePHL plan which was created in response to safety concerns as students prepare to attend schools that are outside of their immediate neighborhoods during the 2013-2014 school year.
“As the Philadelphia School District implements its plan to right-size facilities and provide quality education for all students, it is vitally important that we ensure their safety as they travel to and from school,” said Mayor Nutter. “Students cannot effectively learn if they do not feel safe during the school day, which includes their commute. The WalkSafePHL initiative combines the efforts of many different organizations working toward the same goal: safety for students as they walk, bike, or ride public transportation.”
The WalkSafePHL plan is led by Town Watch Integrated Services (TWIS), which coordinates a safe corridors program in multiple Philadelphia neighborhoods, in partnership with the Philadelphia Police Department, the Philadelphia School District, the Office of Public Safety, the Mayor’s Office of Education, the Mayor’s Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service, the PhillyRising Collaborative, SEPTA Police and community organizations EducationWorks, BuildOn and the Bicycle Coalition. TWIS is responsible for training and certifying volunteers to provide safe corridors for students as they travel to and from school.
“Safety is our foremost concern, both inside and outside of schools,” said Dr. William R. Hite, Superintendent of The School District of Philadelphia. “I greatly appreciate Mayor Nutter and the City of Philadelphia for taking the lead in bringing together various agencies and community organizations around a common cause: the safety of our students.”
Safe corridor volunteers will monitor their assigned routes during the hours around the beginning and end of every school day. They will observe, document and report suspicious or concerning activity along assigned routes. Volunteers will receive training on observations skills, communication, report writing and appropriate behaviors for interacting with children. Safe corridor volunteers will wear highly visible vests and photo identification at all times while on duty so children can easily identify them.
“I am inspired by the partners who have volunteered to assist with the WalkSafePHL initiative. Their efforts will ensure safe routes to and from school for students and their families throughout Philadelphia,” said Chief Education Officer Dr. Lori Shorr.
For more information, please visit www.walksafephl.org or call 215-686-1459.